Double bell tuba

Double bell tuba
Double bell tuba

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuba Christmas [Buffalo / Niagara] 12/17/11 @ Kleinhans

TubaChristmas Buffalo/Niagara
You are again invited to participate in one or more of the TUBACHRISTMAS concerts/events presented throughout the world. TUBACHRISTMAS was conceived in 1974 as a tribute to the late artist/teacher William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902. The first TUBACHRISTMAS was conducted by the late Paul Lavalle in New York City's Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, December 22, 1974. Traditional Christmas music performed at the first TUBACHRISTMAS was arranged by American composer Alec Wilder who ironically died on Christmas Eve, 1980.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oystein Baadsvik ... in Cleveland, Ohio Tues. 11/1/11

November 1 - short recital and masterclass
Cleveland Institute of Music (Cleveland, OH) - Mixon Hall
Contact: Ron Bishop -

Øystein Baadsvik is the only tuba player to have carved out a career exclusively as a soloist, rather than becoming a member of an orchestra or accepting a teaching post. His multi-faceted musical career as a soloist, chamber musician and recording artist has taken him all over the world. The unique virtuosity and musicality Mr. Baadsvik brings to the tuba has established him as the exemplar of the instrument.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My practice room at home...

My 'Play Room' tonight: Mirafone (BBb), Yamaha (Eb), Holton, Buescher, Dynasty (2-valve [G], and Conn 110h (trombone). 2 of them are on loan.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011 Buffalo/Niagara TubaChristmas

Buffalo/Niagara TubaChristmas is a go for the 17th of December in the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall. Mr. Ray Stewart (Professor of tuba @ SUNY Fredonia will be our conductor). Registration begins at 4:30pm and requires a $5.00 per participant registration. Rehearsal begins at 5:30 with the performance at 7:00, before the BPO's Holiday Classic Concert. Participants will receive a complimentary ticket to the concert, and a participant TC Button. Parking is in the paid lot at Kleinhans or on the street. Everyone entering must stop at the ticket office to secure a pass or be "passed" into the Mary Seaton Room. Participants must bring their own music stand, and are encouraged to dress in festive clothing, including decorating their respective horn. There will have a limited number of bass (20) and treble (10) clef books available to purchase (first come first serve), as well as large print copies too (5 of each). Invite your 'big bore buddies!' Any questions, contact Bud.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tuba is important 'instrument' in Homeland Security...

Cultural Exchange: The diplomatic view of classical music
State Department cables released by WikiLeaks offer sometimes-vivid glimpses into cultural diplomacy involving musical performances abroad.

September 18, 2011Two recent and seemingly unrelated events, the release of 250,000 unredacted State Department cables written between 1966 and 2011 via WikiLeaks and the pro-Palestinian protests at the Israel Philharmonic concert in London, got us thinking: How closely entwined are politics and classical music in diplomatic circles?

A few weeks ago WikiLeaks published cables sent by American diplomats who were reporting back to the government on events and people of interest to the United States. The reports are incredibly detailed (we can now confirm that, yes, the president of Turkmenistan did get two extra pineapples on his fruit plate in 1997), which can make for a tedious read.

Put a few classical music keywords in the search box, however, and nuclear-weapon panic gives way to the curious mixture of social chess, pageantry theater and "Fawlty Towers" that is cultural diplomacy.

If the reporting diplomat happens to be a good writer, the extra detail creates a vivid and at times extremely entertaining picture.

Classical music is mentioned most often when the diplomat is discussing an individual's openness to Western culture, his level of sophistication and the cultural health of a region in transition.

It is surprising to discover how classical music performances are used to introduce foreign audiences to American culture. An explanation comes from pianist Michael Sheppard, who won a classical fellowship with the American Pianists Assn. in 2003. The prize included a State Department-sponsored tour of Sri Lanka, Bahrain and Syria, which led to Sheppard's name showing up in a cable.

"The State Department probably uses classical music because there aren't words attached it," he said. "It's hard to be inflammatory when you're just playing piano pieces."

Reading the cables, it seems these concerts are more about what the music represents than the performance. Explained Sheppard, "Music can be a propaganda tool for sure, but I don't think the State Department is thinking, 'Let's use music to get [the audience] to like the U.S.' I'm not trying to push a political agenda at all. Music doesn't have anything to do with the little boundaries that we make."

What follows are excerpts selected to give a glimpse into diplomatic life and the various ways classical music fits in.
Musician in high-ranking post, Belmopan, Belize, 2008

"Belize's new Attorney General and Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington plays the tuba, as did his father. Other siblings and his children also play instruments as well. He described his weekly band practice as something he lives for."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Arnold Jacobs ...

“I don’t fill the instrument with air. I fill it with vibrations (sound).”

Monday, July 25, 2011

While the fabric of the nation was being torn apart, a small band of tattered Wayne County musicians played music to inspire the Union to keep intact.

Germantown's "Silver Coronet Band" joined Company K of the 12th Regiment of Indiana Infantry after resolving July 28, 1862, to spread cheer and inspire confidence to Northern soldiers by playing patriotic music.
Sadly, within days of enlisting, the ragtag band -- with an array of inadequately armed and ill-trained Hoosier troops -- was in the middle of a battle that was an overwhelming victory for the South and an embarrassing defeat for the North. They were captured at the Battle of Richmond, Ky., and their instruments were confiscated.
The fight took place Aug. 29-30, 1862, and was the most overwhelming victory by one side over the other of the entire Civil War. The battle historically has been overshadowed by the Battle of Second Bull Run, or Manassas, that took place about the same time.
The North suffered 5,353 casualties and the South had 451 losses. The imprisoned Germantown musicians lived off raw corn, and suffered the same privation as those who had taken up arms. Eventually they were exchanged and rejoined their regiment at home, but now they had no musical instruments.
Undaunted, the Germantown "band boys" vowed to go on, and ultimately were able to secure new instruments. Again they entered the fray, and played around campfires and on the march, and were often exposed to danger because in taking the lead, they were easy targets.
These ragtag men from Wayne County wore baggy trousers. Their unshaved faces and lean look made them bedraggled. Their whiskers caused them to appear -- as one writer put it -- like "Russian Cossacks."
A band member wrote, "The inspirational duties we performed belied our ruffian appearance. Everyone that could raise whiskers did so, and we became adorned with full facial decorations for our type of service, as we were a handsome lot who played as our strength would permit, with quite unrestrained enthusiasm."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

King Recording Bell-Front Tuba ...

Here's a print ad by the N.H. White Co. promoting their #1240B 'King Symphony Recording Bell-Front model' using a likeness of Mr. William Bell of the New York Philharmonic (formerly with the Cincinnati Symphony and the NBC Symphony).
The horns were manufactured by the N.H. White Co. in Bb & Eb models from $350.00 - $400.00

Friday, June 17, 2011

The old #1291 Bass Horn ...

I came across an old King advertisement. Unfortunately, it wasn't dated.
It's advertising a #1291 BBb tuba with 24" bell, .750 bore, 29.5 lb., 4 rotary valves and bell-front for only $350.00.
You could purchase an additional 'upright' bell for $25.00.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy birthday Roger Bobo!

Today (6/8) is Roger Bobo's birthday. [He is on both Facebook & Twitter] He spent 25 years as principal tubist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Here he is with a Miraphone tuba (G).

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"TRAIN" ing for tuba auditions

"I love playing outdoors and I love coming to the tracks," says Sasha Johnson, who was encouraged to play outdoors as a way of preparing for auditions.Photograph by: Marie-France Coallier, The GazetteSasha Johnson stepped out his front door on Jeanne Mance shouldering a giant 35-pound backpack. He picked up a blue folding chair and set out toward the railroad tracks.

At the sculpture garden near Clark and Van Horne, he stepped through a hole in the fence and walked to a grassy spot along the tracks, well away from any rail traffic. He put down his chair, undid the pack and pulled out a gleaming tuba.

"I'm a little bit tucked away here," he said. "I'm between the St. Urbain underpass and the train tracks. The odds of someone telling me to be quiet are very small. It's not that I get a lot of complaints at the house, but I like to give the neighbours a break."

The light bounced off the golden bell of his tuba as he played scales. A breeze buffeted the music, carrying the low resonant notes down the tracks and through the trees along the chain link fence.

An orchestral tuba player, Johnson, 39, first fell under the spell of the instrument's breadth and power when he was 12.

"There are many more musical possibilities with the tuba than people think. Most people just know about Oompah and Oktoberfest but it can also sound very tender."

To demonstrate, he sent a heart-rending passage floating over the tracks. It was the scene of Juliet's death from Prokofiev's ballet of Romeo and Juliet.

A few years ago, Johnson took lessons with the tuba player from the New York Philharmonic who encouraged him to play outdoors as a way of preparing for auditions.

"The tuba is designed to be the foundation of an 80to 100-piece orchestra," said Johnson.

"Auditions are in concert halls. Playing in a tiny practice room is nowhere close to that. Outside is the largest place possible.

"Now I tell my students to play outside. In fact, I teach out here sometimes," added Johnson who is an instructor at Schulich School of Music at McGill and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He also commutes to work in Toronto with his main employer, the National Ballet of Canada.

"I love playing outdoors and I love coming to the tracks, but it's no fun having to worry about getting a ticket," he said.

The Canadian Pacific police give $140 tickets to anyone they catch crossing the train tracks or setting foot in the green space along the railroad. People in Mile End, Little Italy and Rosemont are actively protesting the ticketing and lobbying for the establishment of a level crossing at the tracks.

"I'm breaking the law just by being here," Johnson pointed out.

He stepped back through the hole in the fence to head home and a woman enjoying the sun on a bench in the sculpture garden told him, "Thanks for the concert."

Sarah Gilbert writes a blog of neighbourhood stories called mileendings.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tuba Gas ...

16-year-old asks 'Make-A-Wish' Foundation for a tuba ...

Karen Swalberg, Jodi Scott, Ian Hopper, Dr. Steve Call, Gary Ofenloch all pose for a portrait after Hopper of Orem was given a tuba from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Photo courtesy Erin Pritchett

OREM -- Sixteen-year-old Ian Hopper of Orem likes cars, the tuba (an instrument he has played since seventh grade), art, hanging out with friends and playing soccer and Ultimate Frisbee. He's not so crazy about being a cancer patient diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma a week before Christmas in 2010.

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah, Tuesday was a brighter day than many of the recent ones for Ian. The foundation, which granted 137 wishes for young people with life-threatening illnesses in Utah alone last year, made a dream come true for the Orem High School student by arranging for him to receive a tuba of his very own.

According to plan, Hopper and his family went to Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City on the assumption that they were invited to watch the dress rehearsal for a Utah Symphony performance. On cue, conductor David Cho broke from rehearsal, brought Hopper on stage and presented the instrument to the young man, along with enough concert tickets for him to attend the show with his whole family that evening. Looking on from the front row were family and friends.

But the excitement didn't end there. Hopper was invited backstage to meet one-on-one with Gary Ofenloch, principal tuba player with the Utah Symphony, who gave him some pointers about the new instrument, which is very different from the old one.

"He taught me some fingerings for the new tuba, because I didn't know them," Ian said.

The wish didn't end there, though.

Hopper falls "right in the middle" as the fourth of seven kids in the family of Michael and Vicky Hopper. All of the Hoppers got to enjoy a meal at Texas Roadhouse in Lehi as part of the eventful day.

And Professor Stephen Call of Brigham Young University is providing two months of lessons free of charge for Hopper -- lessons that had already begun with the old tuba. Call also presented his pupil with a high-end mouthpiece for the new instrument.

"We were filled with gratitude for every one's participation," said Vicky Hopper. "It seemed like people came out of the woodwork to make this time of Ian's life special."

Hopper said some of his band friends who have seen the tuba are "pretty jealous." For him, having the instrument means he can choose to go on to college, and from there, to go to work professionally for an organization such as the Utah Symphony, he said.

Hopper's band teacher at Orem High, Howard Summers, was one of the friends and supporters on hand to see the presentation of the tuba at Abravanel Hall. He described Hopper as "a good kid and a hard worker," who auditioned and made it into an advanced group as a sophomore.

Summers said there were big smiles on Tuesday, and the Make-A-Wish gift has helped Hopper to be more open about his situation, which the teacher sees as a positive result.

"He had a choice of wishes, and it came down to a big vacation with his family, or the tuba," Summers said. "He went with the tuba, and that feels like he is looking toward the rest of his life, being around and living his dreams."

Hopper confirmed that the reason he chose the tuba was that it would be something long-lasting.

Vicky Hopper said his siblings have stepped up to be "amazingly supportive" of their brother, and they make sure he is cared for.

Hopper is currently being home-schooled through a special program, but on days when he feels well enough, his brother Phillip sees to it that Ian comes to band class with him at Canyon View Junior High, where he can sit in and play.

Treatments continue, and the results of a PET scan are due next week.

The family is hoping the cancer is gone, Vicky Hopper said, "but we'll see what happens."

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Jazz Gig ...

Toscanini is conducting the New York Phil and there is a trumpet part that nobody can cut. They try and try but to no avail. Finally someone recommends a jazz trumpeter named Ernie that lives in town that would be able to execute the part.

Toscanini has a cow and states that he will NEVER hire ANY jazz musician as they are undependable, dress bad, have terrible attitudes, etc. etc. Finally, after numerous attempts he is forced to call the guy.

Ernie walks in, sits down, pulls his axe out of a brown paper bag and looks up at Toscanini, nods and says, "How ya doin my man?" He then proceeds to execute the part perfectly to everyone's amazement.

The next day is the dress rehearsal and the same thing
happens ... he shows up, pulls his horn out of a brown paper bag, looks up at Toscanini and says, "How ya doin my man?" 1st time through he nails the part again.
Finally, after the rehearsal Toscanini approaches Ernie and tells him he has to apologize for the negative attitude he has had towards jazz musicians. "I've always had terrible experiences with jazz musicians as they have been undependable and high or drunk, can't count on them, they dress bad, etc. etc. BUT you have changed my opinion on the subject by being on time and executing the part to perfection and I thank you for that."

To which Ernie replies, "Hey man, thanks. I figured it's the least I could do seeing as I can't make the gig tomorrow.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuba Masterclass @ SUNY Fredonia 4/14/11

Internationally known tubist Daniel Perantoni will be giving a master
class at SUNY Fredonia on Thursday, April 14 from 4:30 - 7:00 pm in room
1080 of Mason Hall. Toby Hanks, tuba professor @ Manhattan School of Music will also be on hand.

And later in the evening with the Fredonia Wind Ensemble...
Daniel Perantoni joins the Wind Ensemble for Robert Jager's Concerto for
Bass Tuba and Band. In addition, Chinese composer Chen Qian will be there
for the group's premiere of his new work for Wind Ensemble. Sponsored in
part by the Fredonia Brass Association.
Paula Holcomb, director
8pm, King Concert Hall, Free

*Mr. Daniel Perantoni [BIOGRAPHY]*
Tuba artist, teacher, pedagogue, and solo recitalist, Daniel Perantoni is an
innovator in a variety of genres including chamber music and jazz. He has
appeared as the featured artist at Carnegie Hall, the Monterey Jazz
Festival, the Spoleto Festival U.S.A., the Adelaide Festival in Australia,
the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, the Montreux Brass Congress in
Switzerland, and recently as a soloist throughout Japan.

Mr. Perantoni was a founding member of Summit Brass, a member of Symphonia,
the Saint Louis Brass Quintet, and the Matteson-Phillips Tubajazz Consort.
He has produced numerous solo and chamber music CDs. Along with Robert
Tucci, Mr. Perantoni designed the "Perantucci" line of low brass instruments
and mouthpieces.

Mr. Perantoni serves as the vice president for educational matters and
consultant/clinician for Custom Music Company. He received the Lifetime
Achievement Award from the executive board of T.U.B.A. His students hold
prestigious positions in major performing ensembles and music schools around
the world.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Musicians arrive @ the Pearly Gates ...

Arriving at the Pearly Gates ...
Recently a tuba player, a trombonist, and clarinetist wound up together at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter informed them that in order to get into heaven, they would each have to answer one question.

St. Peter enjoyed the rich, full, melodic sound of the tuba, so he addressed the tubist first, and asked, “What was the name of the ship that crashed into the iceberg?" They just made a movie about it, so the tubist answered quickly, “That would be the Titanic.” St. Peter let him through the gate.

St. Peter then turned to the trombonist and figuring the trombone was a fine instrument, but sometimes the correct slide positions were not always easy to find, decided to make the question a little harder: “How many people died on the ship?” But the trombonist had just seen the movie, too, and she answered, “about 1,500.”

“That’s right! You may enter,” said Peter.

Then St. Peter turned to the clarinetist. St. Peter's impression of clarinets was they were the 'Seagulls of the music ensemble!' So he said, “Name them!”

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why did the group disband?

"Plagued by a lack of gigs, an abundance of 'personnel shifts,' and an uncertainty over the direction of the group; they disbanded."
I've played in many groups like this!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

C.G. Conn Instrument Factory... 1911

These are the machines that make parts like valve caps, stems and finger buttons.

1911 C.G. Conn machining department ...

Creating band instruments requires a great number of special tools, forms & jigs. The machining department is where most of the tooling is made.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

C.G. Conn Instrument factory...Circa. 1911

Newly constructed factory to replace the previous one which burned down.
303 workers: 250 men - 53 women.
Manufactured over 800 instruments per month.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My pet project ...

I was asked by the local WNY Alumni Drum Corps. to see if I could do something with this horn. They found it uncovered in the basement of the American Legion hall. After much TLC and elbow's the result!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Colin Firth (euphonium player)

Colin Firth was honored with his first Oscar win Sunday night as the widely-acknowledged front runner walked away with the Best Actor statue for his work in The King's Speech. In the movie, Colin played the stammering King George VI, who overcomes his speech impediment to deliver a history speech to his country as they go to war with Germany in World War II.

Did you know that Colin Firth learned to play the euphonium when he was in school?
While in Kings' School in England, he wanted to play the guitar, but the school banned the guitar and saxophone, as they were "not serious instruments," and he was told to play the baritone euphonium instead.

So, I'm not saying that he wouldn't have won the Oscar, but I'm sure it helped!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Upcoming Day of Brass & Tuba Day ...


The University of Rochester College Music Department is thrilled to offer the second annual “Day of Brass” on Saturday, March 26th from 9am-4pm at the UR Alumni and Advancement Center (formerly St. Agnes High School) on East River Road adjacent to the UR River Campus. This FREE event will include rehearsals, master classes/clinics, and a final concert featuring a festival brass ensemble (comprised of guests mixed with UR undergraduates) and a special appearance by the 198th Army Reserve Band Brass Ensemble. This year, the event is open to all participants, ages 14-100!-- high schoolers, college students, local amateurs, and adult musicians.
We are seeking participants for the “Day of Brass"-- any accomplished trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium, or tuba player who can perform at an intermediate level can participate. There is no audition or enrollment fee! While we hope to accommodate as many participants as possible, we are bound by the size of the stage used for the final performance. Therefore, participation will be managed on a first-come, first-served basis, keeping in mind the desire for a balanced instrumentation. Interested brass players can RSVP or request additional details by sending an e-mail to
Our 2011 offerings include a little bit of everything-- a workshop on jazz improvisation, a session on do-it-yourself instrument care and maintenance, and, back by popular demand, a session on the history of brass with over 40 vintage instruments for you to try! The University of Rochester Stingers Trombone Ensemble will be featured. We will also form a festival ensemble (a mixture of guests and UR students), and we will be playing a fun rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the rock group Queen.
Won't you please join us for the 2011 Day of Brass? Please RSVP by replying to or by calling 585-273-5157. We can e-mail scanned sheet music to you in advance. Here is a YouTube video from last year's Day of Brass, in case you'd like to see what this is all about:


Come celebrate "International Tuba Day" by playing in a fun concert on Thursday, April 28th at Strong Auditorium on the U of R River Campus. The University of Rochester Brass Choir will be hosting the event this year, which will feature several tuba and euphonium works performed by a massed tuba/euphonium ensemble (comprised of guests and UR undergraduates). The concert will also feature performances by the full UR Brass Choir and the UR Percussion Ensemble. There will be a brief rehearsal at 6pm on the 28th, and then the concert will begin at 8pm. Scanned PDF versions of the sheet music can be e-mailed to participants in advance. Please RSVP by replying to Roger Demott ( or Josef Hanson (

Josef M. Hanson
Manager of Music Performance Programs
Instructor, MUR 101
Director, UR Brass Choir

College Music Department
University of Rochester
206 Todd Union, box 270052
Rochester, NY 14627
phone: 585-273-5157
fax: 585-273-5337

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The 'Heavy Tuba Experience' performs 'Since You Left'

'The Heavy Tuba Experience' was founded by Heimo Schmid in 1993. The musicians are from the Upper Austrian classical and jazz scene. Three tubas, four euphoniums, doubling at times on trombone, as well as a rhythm section of five contributes to the perhaps untraditional sound.
Since 1997 the British vocalist Dorretta Carter has joined as a member of the ensemble.
The band cooperated with tuba soloists Jon Sass (4CDs), Howard Johnson and Joe Daley. 'The Heavy Tuba Experience' combines classic, jazz, rock, funk and soul and cannot be compared to any other group.
The common place or usual is not what 'The Heavy Tuba Experience' is about. They present once again the virtouosity of modern tuba playing in its unique substance. Nevertheless, the good old themes cannot be denied – exactly the opposite. It is music that definitely goes in your ear, but cannot be cubbyholed or easily classified.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuba Urinals ...

I understand these 'tuba urinals' really cut down on "splash," but just the thought of using the horns for this purpose brings tears to my eyes!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Concerto moves the tuba front and center

NEC’s Schuller to conduct his piece’s premiere
Mike Roylance of the BSO says a new tuba concerto by Gunther Schuller is “the hardest thing I’ve ever played.’’ (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
By David Weininger Globe Correspondent / February 12, 2011

When Mike Roylance plays a tuba piece — be it a concerto, a sonata, or some other work that places the low-voiced instrument in solo role — he often gets a comment from a listener along the lines of: “I never thought a tuba could do that.’’

Mike Roylance, tuba soloist
Music of Haydn, Schuller,and Brahms

The reaction induces mixed emotions in Roylance, who is the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s principal tubist and teaches at New England Conservatory and Boston University. “I guess I’m really glad for everyone that says that,’’ he said during a recent phone conversation. But he’s also somewhat dismayed to be reminded that “the tuba has a lot of preconceived stereotypes that they [used to] kind of box it into the back of the orchestra.’’

Make no mistake: It’s tough out there for the tuba. Half a century of rising playing standards and a concurrent expansion of repertoire have yet to dissipate the instrument’s image as a lumbering, slightly comic entity, best hidden away at the back of the orchestra to pick up the music’s bottom end.

Roylance, though, is doing his part to edge the instrument further into the spotlight. He recently released an album on iTunes containing a recent piece by composer Robert Smith and arrangements of three tangos by Astor Piazzolla. And on Tuesday, he’ll give the first performance of a new tuba concerto by NEC’s Gunther Schuller, who will conduct the Boston University Symphony Orchestra. It is Schuller’s second work for tuba and orchestra, which in and of itself puts him in a rarefied group of composers.

The backstory of the new piece touches on important aspects of the instrument’s recent history. Like Schuller’s first concerto — “Capriccio for Tuba and Orchestra,’’ written in 1969 — the new work owes its existence to Harvey Phillips, who was, by all accounts, one of the instrument’s most important teachers, players, and advocates. According to a New York Times obituary, Phillips, who died last year at the age of 80, commissioned more than 200 new pieces and once remarked, “I’m determined that no great composer is ever again going to live out his life without composing a major work for tuba.’’“His whole life he took on the cause to champion the tuba as a melodic voice, not just an oom-pah voice,’’ said Roylance.

Phillips was also a lifelong friend of Schuller; when the latter became NEC’s president in the late 1960s, Phillips was his vice president of financial affairs. Phillips called Schuller in 2007 to commission the new piece, even though he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and, according to Roylance, knew that he would most likely never get a chance to perform, or even hear it.

Schuller completed the concerto last spring. It hadn’t been written for a particular performer, and Schuller knew Roylance from the composer’s involvement with the BSO. So, said Roylance, Schuller called “out of the blue’’ to ask if he would play it. “Of course I jumped at the chance,’’ he said. “And I got the part and realized it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever played. In many ways I’ve had to relearn how to play my instrument.’’That’s because the solo part covers a range equivalent to “the entire left half of the piano.’’ Though lyrical and expressive in parts, the tempos and dynamics are also pushed to extremes, said Roylance. “He really knows how to write correctly for each instrument’s maximum potential.’’

One technical detail shows Roylance just how complete Schuller’s grasp of the instrument is. He specifies that the piece should be played on a contrabass tuba, the largest in the tuba family. “Traditionally, if you have a piece like this that goes into the higher register, you would opt to play a smaller horn,’’ he explained. “But Gunther knows the specific ranges and the specific colors. It’s a much higher degree of difficulty, but the sound colors will be what he had in mind.’’

Even more Schuller
In an odd bit of synchronicity, Schuller’s first two string quartets are on the bill of an “Early Evening’’ concert by the Borromeo String Quartet at New England Conservatory, also on Tuesday. That concert’s 6 p.m. start time should give Schuller addicts time to get from NEC to BU in time for the new concerto.

David Weininger can be reached at

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.

Jazz Tuba/Euphonium?

A YouTube link to an amazing and unique Tuba & Euphonium performance. Especially for those who haven't heard "jazz" euphonium or "jazz" tuba performances.

David 'Dave' W Bargeron (born September 6, 1942 in New York City) is an American trombonist and tuba player from Athol, Massachusetts, most famous for playing with the jazz-rock group Blood, Sweat, and Tears. He joined the group in 1970, after Jerry Hyman departed, and first appeared on the album Blood, Sweat & Tears 4. With this group at the album Live and Improvised (1975) played jazz-rock solo on the tuba "And When I Die/One room country shack" Medley. He is often compared to trombonist James Pankow of Chicago and Jim Pugh of the Woody Herman band.
He was lead trombonist with Clark Terry's Big Band, and (from 1968-1970), played bass trombone and tuba with Doc Severinsen's Band. His recording credits with BS&T include eleven albums. A break in their schedule allowed Dave to join the Gil Evans Orchestra in 1972, and he remains a member of that Orchestra to this day.

Michel Godard (3 October 1960, Héricourt, near Belfort, France) is a French tuba player and jazz musician.
Godard was admitted at the age of 18 to the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio-France. His ability to produce overtones ("multiphonics") and musicality leaves the listener surprised at how light a seemingly cumbersome tuba can sound. In 1979 he picked up also the ancestor of the tuba, the serpent.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tuba Valentine ...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Surprise your valentine with a tuba and euphonium serenade
by Stephanie Daniels of North Texas Daily

UNT Students purchase more than 30 tuba Valentines each year.

Some send flowers on Valentine’s Day – not everyone sends a quartet of tuba and euphonium players.

This year, the North Texas Tuba and Euphonium Association is helping students make this Valentine’s Day original by sending four players to serenade that special someone. The event is a fundraiser for the organization.

“It’s a fun experience. I love seeing the surprise on the people’s face when they get a tuba valentine,” said James Cunico, a member and music junior. “ It’s also been good to get our instruments out there, because it’s not an instrument you would expect.”

Too good tuba true!

Each tuba quartet performance comes with a chocolate rose and a personalized Valentine’s Day card. On-campus valentines cost $25 and off-campus valentines cost $35, according to the organization’s website.

The North Texas chapter of the International Tuba and Euphonium Association was formed in November 2002.

The organization promotes the tuba and euphonium family of instruments through education while sharing music with others, said Zack Corpus, president of the association.

“We like to provide an exemplary collegiate experience for them while at UNT,” he said. “We also seek to spread the word about our family of instruments and aid in the education of younger generations.”

Corpus said he’s coordinated the Valentine’s Day fundraiser for the past two years.

Students purchase more than 30 tuba valentines each year, said Don Little of the music faculty.

“When this first started going on, I wouldn’t say we were skeptical, but we didn’t think it would be such a success,” he said.

The past two years have been tremendously successful, not only in the fundraising aspect of the project, but in making the community more aware of this particular family of instruments, Corpus said.

“One person proposed, and there was crying and great stuff,” he said.

Lauren Veronie, a UNT alumna, started the tuba valentine tradition, Corpus said.

Veronie created the list of songs customers can choose, including “My Girl,” “My Guy,” “When I Fall In Love,” “Always & Forever,” “Hey Baby” and “Can’t Help Myself.”

“It’s been a hit, a surprise hit,” Little said. “It’s really become popular.”

To purchase a tuba valentine, contact 785-410-3324 or

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A professional circus Tuba player ...

Want to work for Cirque du Soleil? Part 2 Tuba player Justin Lerma told us in the first part of his interview how to get a job in the circus world, and what the rehearsal process is like. Here he takes a look back and shares with us the pluses and minuses of the gig, and what made him stop.

What didn't you know about the job before you joined in?
I didn't know it was gonna be so much work. I was so young when I started this and I didn't expect the long hours. I felt like I was the weak link because I was so young. It forced me to be better than I was. It forced me to have to work very hard. The environment is bad at times. A lot is expected from you as a musician, and it's even worse for actors and performers. They were times when it was so much. I remember we were contracted to do 2 shows a night, 3 shows on Friday and Saturday. We worked every day, there was no day off. They added a fourth show, not in our contract, and some people wanted money for it. They brought their contract in, and I remember the head guy saying: "this is so unprofessional." The older guys fought back, but things were not good.

"We worked every day,
there was no day off"

In fact, after I went back to Texas where I'm from, I was short on money so I decided to go back to a Sea World job, and they were not offering contracts to anybody. They wanted to pay people hourly, and the schedule would adjust accordingly to what they needed. So if July 4th (huge day for the park) came, our day started later and they would just adjust the times to fit what they needed, and we'd be there until the day was done. So if they had a show at 10, one at noon, and then one at 8, you would have to stay in the park in between shows, but they wouldn't pay you.

If you were contracted, they gave you apartments, but at this point, they got local people only. The level went down. They did what they needed to do. It's weird because people know that that happened. That particular show started off really good in 2005, it won 2nd place in this amusement park contest. It went on until 2008 and then they started to notice that musicians were rebelling and they got rid of them.

"You have a lot of free time
to work on your instrument"

Actually, if you talk about theme parks, they're all getting rid of their musicians. Disney World got rid of a lot of musicians. The funny thing is that two of their tuba players were Mike Roylance who is now principal for Boston, and Chris Olka who is the principal in Seattle.

What are the pluses and minuses of working for Cirque du Soleil as a musician?
Obviously money is good. For two months of work, I made $6,000, and I was the lowest paid guy at that point. The performers are making a substantial amount of money. The shows that are in Vegas are paid quite well. People do this for years and years, and they go from show to show. Minuses: being on the road, you're tired, you're worn out, you're with the same people every day, you see them every day. It's a difficult lifestyle. It gives you an opportunity to kind of experiment on your own. Yes you have to do a job, but once the ball gets rolling and you're doing your job, not a lot of rehearsal time is needed, but you have a lot of free time to work on your instrument and own your skills.

"It's very much a man's world"

Who would benefit most from working for them?
I had a great time and I learned a ton, doing this was the point where I made the decision to become some kind of freakish tuba player, but it's just like a Broadway show. You play the same stuff over and over and over again, and you're able to inject a little bit of yourself, but there's something that they want. At the end of the day, it needs to be what they want, even if you get to add some stuff in. I can't imagine younger musicians being happy with doing that. I don't think anybody that's in college should do this. I was an idiot. The musicians were all older, at least 30 or so. There were some female vocalists and a few violin players, but it is very much a man's world.

"Circus shows can be harmful
to your playing"

What made you stop?
It was time to get real. I never had aspiration to be an amusement park, circus, touring musician. Shows, circus shows like Blast, I feel can be harmful to your playing. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be in an orchestra, or in a premiere band job. If you are constantly playing pop tunes, and you're not putting in the time on excerpts, wind ensemble, orchestra, you're gonna lose that kind of playing, and I was loosing it. I was always having to come back and start over from the beginning, change my sound, do this and do that. If I had kept on doing that, I wouldn't have been able to make it to the finals of auditions like I did. The tuba instructor at the Navy School of Music used to study with Mike Roylance and he said: you know, it wasn't until those jobs were taken away from them that they were able to make it to the other jobs. It's detrimental. So I knew it was time to go.

[From Geraldine in a bottle blog]

Desperate Tubist ...

A street performer sets his tuba on fire to grab the attention of the audience at 'Warsaw Square' in San Francisco.
Note how well his technique works as the people in the background ignore him!